At first, a newsgroup may appear as a group of people that has something to do with news or current events. This is sometimes correct but it is more appropriate to tag newsgroups as discussion forums where messages and comments can be posted by different people in several languages situated in various locations in the world.
A newsgroup usually focuses on a certain topic, wherein message postings are allowed to share ideas and thoughts about the subject. Postings usually expire in a certain period of time or are managed by a newsgroup administrator or moderator. A newsgroup administrator manages the message postings and filters them if necessary, while a newsgroup operator is the one approving the message posting before it will become available to the public. There are times that you need to subscribe to a certain newsgroup before you can post or read messages. Most commercially available sites maintain their own news server to determine the ideas and feedback of customers about their products.
There are also newsgroups intended for certification exams, such as Sun Certified Java Professional (SCJP) program. Topics discussed in these newsgroups are usually about the experience in taking the exam and some pointers on how to successfully complete it within a specific time frame. There are also some who post possible questions with answers that may be encountered by future exam takers. Some also suggest training schools that are proven effective in providing comprehensive courses about Java programming and books or references that helped them in reaching their SCJP goal. You can search for an SCJP newsgroup on the net and take that first step on becoming a Sun Certified Professional.